Students from Latin Countries thrive in EL program

Karen Martinez, staff writer

Over the recent years, people from Latin America have come to the United States for better opportunities. This includes high school students from all over Latin America, who have come to the U.S. to get a better education. Loudoun County High School has a strong EL department that gives students the best opportunities and education they can get.


Harika Tuna, ELL English teacher, has been given the opportunity to work with students from different Latin countries. “I like working with my students because they are respectful and fun to be around,” Tuna said. Each one of her students come from a different background.


Tuna has used multiple techniques to help her students learn, she has given her students the opportunity to learn through computer programs and communication amongst each other.

Harika Tuna’s ELL 7th block English class works on their warm up at the start of class. Paused working on their assignment online for a quick picture after Ms. Tuna convinced them.


“I use group work where my students have to speak to each other, and we use programs like System 44 to practice pronunciation,” Tuna said.


Carlos Rodriguez is a junior in high school, Rodriguez came to the U.S. from Honduras for a better life and education opportunities. His life has been different from the one he left behind in Honduras.


“Coming to the U.S. was a new experience for me, it wasn’t scary at all, just a new experience,” Rodriguez said. Rodriguez learned English to be able to communicate with the rest of the students. “My English has improved a lot. I’ve seen some progress ever since I first started learning, but I do think there could be an improvement,” Rodriguez said.


Rodriguez’s life has been different from his life in Honduras. He has had to adapt to the new culture, new food, and schools with schools being the biggest adjustment since the schools in the U.S. are very different from the ones in Latin America.


“The schools have some similarities, but school rules and dressing codes are different. In Honduras we’re expected to wear a uniform everyday,” Rodriguez said.


So far Rodriguez has had good interactions with the rest of the students but like everyone else he has some personal opinions about a few students.


“I congratulate the good students and feel shame for the ones who don’t take advantage of their opportunities,” Rodriguez said. Like any student in school, Rodriguez still doesn’t know what to do after high school.


Roel Galeas is a sophomore this year. He came from El Salvador to the U.S. with his family for a better life and education opportunities like the rest of the students in Tuna’s ELL English class.


“When I first came here it was a bit difficult because I had to adapt to a new culture, new food, new friends, new schools, but over time you start getting used to it,” Galeas said.


Throughout time Galeas got used to the environment at school and the new faces he’d have to see every day. Although Galeas learned English to communicate with the rest of the students he still struggles a bit.


“My English has improved, I’ve seen some improvement but I wish the students here would have a bit more patience,” Galeas said.


Gales tries to take as much advantage as he can when it comes to his education, Galeas wants good grades so he’ll be accepted into a good college


“I like the schools here because they have good education and they’re very organized,” Galeas said.


Galeas takes several different classes, finding some of them easier than others. His classes have taught him a lot this year. He has learned things he never thought he’d have to learn.

“I think my easiest classes are English, PE, and culinary arts, my harder classes are Algebra, Biology, and Government,” Galeas said.


Attending community college after high school is one of Galeas’s goals.


“After high school I plan on going to community college if I get good grades,” Galeas said.


Josue Sorto is a sophomore this year. Like Galeas, Josue came to the U.S. with his family from El Salvador for a better life and education opportunities.


“The first few days in the U.S. were difficult because the school is bigger where you get lost and there’s new people,” Sorto said.


Coming to the U.S. meant starting a new life for Sorto. He has had to adapt to the different culture and environment, especially at school where Sorto had to learn English to be able to communicate with the teachers and his classmates.


Sorto has good opinions about the students at Loudoun County. He has had good interactions with all of the students and overall likes the environment.


“My experience at a new school has been good, and I think all the students here are smart and work hard to accomplish their dreams,” Sorto said.


Sorto plans to attend community college and work to be able to provide for himself after high school.


“Come everyday to school even if you’re lost. Coming everyday matters because you learn new things that can help you,” Tuna said.


Do you have any good kicker quotes from Ms. Tuna? Kicker quotes for this article would be feel-good quotes about her hopes for the students’ future, or the successes they have had, etc.